‘Very important’ diplomatic channel with US opened: Venezuelan president

Caracas, June 16 (IANS) Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro has said that a “very important” diplomatic channel has been opened between Venezuela and the US, Spanish news agency Efe reported.

A Venezuelan commission, comprising Foreign Minister Delcy Rodriguez and National Assembly President Diosdado Cabello, met US State Department counsellor Thomas Shannon in Haiti on Saturday.

“They spoke about issues related to Haiti, the support that we have been giving Haiti and later there was a special meeting to discuss bilateral matters and normalisation of relations with the United States of America through diplomatic channels,” Maduro said on Monday.

State-owned Venezuelan News Agency reported on Sunday that the meeting was part of a rapproachment between the two countries keeping in mind international law and the sovereignty and self-determination of the people.

US officials described the meeting as positive and productive but did not give out more details.

Haitian President Michel Martelly mediated the meeting, according to Venezuelan sources.

“Ambassador Shannon talked with Venezuelan counterparts touching on all elements of our bilateral relationship. The meetings were positive and productive,” US State Department spokesperson Jeff Rathke had said.

This was the third meeting between Shannon and senior Venezuelan officials in just over two months.

Tension between Washington and Caracas had increased markedly after a decree signed in March by President Barack Obama had sanctioned a group of top Venezuelan officials for human rights violations and declared Venezuela to be a “threat” to US national security .

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